This is Still America #1

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of This is Still America #1 Creator(s): George
Publishers: Self Published
From: USA
Price: US$ 2.00

The central character of this comic has no name. Perhaps it is supposed to be "George", because the comic has an autobiographical tone to it as it mixes dream sequences, childhood memories and recent events to construct a picture of a young man who is glad to hear his father has died, and a boy who copes with the divorce of his parents by becoming a brat and trouble maker.

George would seem to have put a lot of effort into the design of this book. Amongst the review material that has crossed my desk in the last year this is one of the few to grab my attention as soon as the envelope was opened. Wonderfully quirky in its cover design, with a low-fi handmade vibe created by the purposely misaligned registration on some of the colours, a graph paper background, and the red tinting to the edge of the pages. The interior continue this approach, with a dream like art style constructed with razor thin line work and a minimum of shading or solid blacks. As such the majority of pages lack dynamism while at the same time they look lovely and the characters are charming illustrations.

The narrative mixes school hall hi-jinx with moments of great sadness that capture a troubled vision of childhood. "George" acts tough but a long lonely wait at an airport makes a huge impression on him and the reader, explaining the characters reaction to his father's death in an forceful way. George isn't telling us how his characters feel; he makes us feel their emotions with them.

The book has hints of the fantastical in both a bizarre dream of fight and animals that occasionally past comment on the events that unfold. Such elements add to the impact of events, acting as clues to how "George" feels and showing what effect past events have had on him. The wistful sadness that surrounded his childhood stinks home in silent panels, showing that thin lines can indeed be weighty. This is the start of a series worth reading.

In a Word: Melancholy.

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